Absolute Agility
Recreational Facility
(AARF)
BSL In Ontario
10 Commandments
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December 2006

As agility competitors and enthusiasts, many of us understand that Ontario currently has provincial breed specific legislation (BSL) banning pit bull terriers and their importation into the province.  There has been a lot of discussion regarding BSL and what effect it will have on Agility Dog Trials.  We would like to provide information and links to resources regarding the current BSL situation in Ontario.  At this time, there is a legal challenge against this Bill and we are hopeful that BSL in Ontario will be overturned in the near future.  We are aware that there are ongoing delays in this court case, however at this time it looks like it will remain in effect.

Absolute Agility Recreational Facility is sympathetic to all owners and handlers of breeds that are subject to BSL.  We believe that the responsible owners and handlers of dogs that are subject to BSL and want to participate are being discriminated against.  At this time, as much as we would love to have every dog participate in the event, we acknowledge that this may not be possible.  However, in anticipation of BSL being overturned, we will make every effort to accommodate individuals affected by this legislation.
However ....The Day Farm does not have full perimeter fencing around the exterior of the property.  As such, despite the basic obedience training of competing dogs, there is a definite possibility that an unleashed dog could 'break out' of the property.  However they would be unable to 'break out' of the show ring due to exterior wall at the indoor venue and very unlikely to get out of the show ring fencing at the outdoor venue.  Therefore, under the DOLA regulations, Ontario-resident restricted dogs can safely be allowed to be unleashed and unmuzzled in the show ring and thus will be able to compete.

The following information has been included below:

Yours in agility,

Jennifer Laird
Absolute Agility Recreational Facility

BREED-SPECIFIC LEGISLATION (BSL) IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO

Ontario's Public Safety Related to Dogs Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005 became law on March 9, 2005 and it amended the Dog Owners' Liability Act (DOLA).  The new legislation came into effect on August 29, 2005, banning pit bulls and their importation into Ontario.  The new law also places restrictions on existing pit bulls and toughens penalties for the owners of any dog that poses a danger to the public.  The amendments made to DOLA can be found within O.Reg. 157/05, Amended to O.Reg. 434/05.  Under the amendments to DOLA, pit bull is defined as:

  • A pit bull terrier
  • A Staffordshire bull terrier
  • An American Staffordshire terrier
  • An American pit bull terrier
  • A dog that has an appearance and physical characteristics substantially similar to any of those dogs.

Pit bulls already legally residing in the province before the law came into force may remain legally in Ontario, subject to certain conditions, such as compliance with leash, muzzle and sterilization requirements.

Except for show dogs and flyball dogs that fall within a very narrow set of criteria prohibited dogs are not allowed to enter Ontario.  A restricted dog that is a purebred show dog or a registered flyball dog that is competing in an authorized purebred dog show or a flyball competition is permitted to enter the province for a limited time.  The only authorized registering bodies are the Canadian Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club, the American Dog Breeders Association, or the North American Flyball Association.  Restricted dogs that enter Ontario to compete are allowed into the province for 14 days for a purebred dog show and 7 days for a flyball dog tournament.

Restricted dogs must be muzzled and on leash at all times, unless on private property with the owner's consent.  Restricted dogs off-leash on private property must not be able to escape from the property.

Regardless of the dog's breed, all dog owners are subject to the following sections of the law:

  • A dog must not bite or attack a person or a domestic animal nor behave in a manner that poses a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals.
  • Owners must exercise reasonable precautions to prevent the above behaviour.
  • A peace officer may immediately seize a dog (in public or from wherever the dog is being kept) if they believe that an owner has violated any section of this Act, at any time, present or past.  They do not necessarily need a warrant in order to seize the dog from its home and they may use as much force as necessary to accomplish this.
  • If an owner is convicted, in addition to fines and jail time, the court may order: destruction of the dog; sterilization of the dog; control measures including muzzling, leashing, confinement, warning signs; prohibition of dog ownership.

Restricted dogs from Ontario:

It is this committee's understanding that restricted dogs that are legally resident in Ontario, are required to be on leash and muzzled at all times unless they are on private property with consent by the owner AND the property is enclosed in a way that can be relied on to prevent the dog from breaking out of the property.

The Day Farm does not have full perimeter fencing around the exterior of the property.  As such, despite the basic obedience training of competing dogs, there is a definite possibility that an unleashed dog could 'break out' of the property.  However they would be unable to 'break out' of the show ring due to exterior wall at the indoor venue and very unlikely to get out of the show ring fencing at the outdoor venue.  Therefore, under the DOLA regulations, Ontario-resident restricted dogs can safely be allowed to be unleashed and unmuzzled in the show ring and thus will be able to compete.

Restricted dogs from outside of Ontario (and from Ontario):

It is my understanding that there are no circumstances by which restricted dogs that are not legally resident in Ontario can compete in agility events unless the event is also sanctioned by one of the following bodies:

- The Canadian Kennel Club.
- The United Kennel Club.
- The American Kennel Club.
- The American Dog Breeders Association The North American Flyball Association

Even if there was a procedure that would allow us to have the agility sanctioned by one of the five bodies listed above, there are still significantly limited conditions under which restricted dogs are allowed to compete.  They are:

  1. The restricted dog must be registered as a Staffordshire bull terrier, an American Staffordshire terrier or an American pit bull terrier with one or more of the dog registries named above.
  2. The owner of the restricted dog has given written notice to one of these dog registries stating the owner's intention that the restricted dog will participate in approved dog shows.
  3. Except in the circumstances described in paragraph 4, the restricted dog has participated in at least one approved dog show during the 365-day period ending on the day this Regulation came into force (August 29, 2005).
  4. In the case of a restricted dog that was unborn or below the age of 36 weeks on the day this Regulation came into force, the dog has participated in at least one approved dog show during the period ending on the day on which the pit bull reached the age of 36 weeks.
  5. The restricted dog has participated in an approved dog show at least once in every 365-day period since the dog's first participation in such a show during the period that applies to the dog under paragraph 3 or 4, as the case may be.
  6. For restricted dogs not owned by Ontario residents, beginning on the day on which this Regulation comes into force, the pit bull has not been present in Ontario except during 14-day periods that include an approved dog show in which the pit bull participated.

Even if we are able to convince one of these recognized dog show registries to sanction our event, it is likely that very few restricted dogs (both resident and non-resident) will be able to participate under these conditions.  Additionally, all mixed breed restricted dogs (non-resident) will not be allowed to compete under any circumstances.

As such, in accordance with the guidelines on BSL, the committee intends to inform potential competitors as early as possible of the DOLA regulations in Ontario and unless these DOLA amendments are legally overturned prior to the event.

For more information about BSL, please refer to the following websites:

 

 

Dog Legislation Council of Canada     www.doglegislationcouncilcanada.org

Banned Aid Coalition     www.bannedaid.com

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of Canada     www.staffordcanada.com/anti_bsl